"Miller's heartfelt search for substance over style is never in doubt." 4 stars
"Its darkness, its mystery, its impossibly buoyant songs and its willingness to be something different - accessible but absolutely outside of mainstream parameters - really set this album apart."
4 stars Melbourne Age
4 stars Brisbane Courier-Mail
"A musical masterpiece" 5 stars
"Unquestionably a great album"
"A thing of breathtaking, honest beauty" 5 stars
"Lisa Miller has the kind of talent that, every now and then, stuns you to a wide-eyed gasp."
"She's good, Lisa Miller.
"You guys are great!"
"An irresistible, smoky, four-in-the-morning voice .... a blissful experience" 4 1/2 stars
"This is a sublime record." 4 stars
"One of the most divine voices ever heard in Australia." 4 stars
"Like a late-night fire of glowing embers that warm rather than scorch."
"The passion, bravery and mastery with which she inhabited each song were transporting - at times, it was as though you could feel her breath against your skin".
"I'm telling you, there was only one place that you would have rather wanted to be and that was inside her microphone."
"An album without a weak link and at least five singles to pick from. This is the performance of an artist totally in control of her medium."
"The full scale of Lisa Miller's songwriting becomes apparent. Add to that a voice that can switch from a tough Chrissie Hynde sneer to a tender Lucinda Williams whisper, and you've got a quite brilliant album."
"Daring, different, and teeming with integrity."
"There is more musical satisfaction here than on a dozen Tamworth wannabes."
"Superb, brassy lyrics, backed by smoky country with crunch, and delivered in the voice of a sultry, yet tough-as-nails chick. And that's just the first song.."
Reviews for MORNING IN THE BOWL OF NIGHT
"A musical masterpiece."
(5 stars) Mike Daly, THE AGE GREEN GUIDE
"It's all done with such grace and simplicity, with such intimacy and honesty - lyrical and musical - that it insinuates itself into your life completely. This record is the finest thing Lisa Miller has done. It will keep speaking to you, moving you, long beyond this year. It╣s why it is unquestionably a great album."
Bernard Zuel, SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
"There might be albums as good that come out this year, but I've played it over and over and it's hard to imagine that there is going to be a better one. Morning in the Bowl of Night is a treasure, a thing of breathtaking, honest beauty."
(5 stars) Noel Mengel, BRISBANE COURIER-MAIL
"A songwriter par excellence - her strongest collection yet, 11 shimmering, unblemished songs that reveal themselves over repeated listens - should act as an example to others, proving that the concept of adult-oriented music doesn't preclude richness, depth or texture."
(4.5 stars) Guy Blackman, THE SUNDAY AGE
"This is a poignant, beautiful album, almost unbearably lovely in places, but underpinned with a steady resolve, revealing the sure hand of a songwriter who has something to say and the finely tuned tools with which to express it in a gently poetic, moving fashion."
Lauren Zoric, MESS+NOISE
"Sublime vocal skills - Miller is a first-class songwriter, and she takes her craft to new heights on album No. 5 ... her rich acoustic pop brims with hope, hitting a high point on the crunchy, seven-minute Love Will Carry You. In a word: stellar."
(4 stars) Shane O'Donohue HERALD SUN
"Morning In The Bowl Of Night is the best record released this year (yes, it's only May)... songs of sublime substance... it's real, raw and richly rewarding - from the heart and the heavens... no amount of money could improve it."
(4 stars) Stevie Nix, mX CD Of The Week
Reviews for VERSION ORIGINALE
Some people come and go without leaving a noticeable trace. You can hear plenty of them on the radio every day. Not Lisa Miller. She is a reminder that it's not always the first moment of a song and a singer that matters but what mark is left with you afterwards. It's then that you can fall in love with a song or a voice again and again.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Lisa Miller is proof that a great album by a great artist can still find an audience in Australia. Her distinctive, late-night voice and heartfelt, beautifully crafted songs have already had the reviewers struggling to do justice to its sublime power.
Lisa Miller has the kind of talent that, every now and then, stuns you to a wide-eyed gasp.
Version Originale is, simply, natural. It is pop music with finesse and heart and wonderful soul. It is as sensitive as it is beautifully executed. Space to breathe but not to drown... That Lisa Miller has succeeded admirably in making a record to treasure is undeniable. Version Originale is as good as, if not better, than any other Australian record released this year.
An episodic and miniature world of feelings and heartfelt experiences. Version Originale truly captures the heart of the country, the soul of suburbia and an individual persona of a singer-songwriter at the height of her craft.
Again Lisa Miller has proved she likes to fly in the face of what is commercially expected. The unquestionable strengths in her songwriting and the conviction in her sublimely pure and soulful voice, will help cement her reputation as the best Australia has to offer.
THE WEST AUSTRALIAN
Even in this huge, warm cavern of sound, the focus remained on the slow, mesmerising dance of Miller's voice. For all her band's empathy and skill, that was the part that consistently transcended reason.
THE AGE A3 LIVE REVIEW
When Miller sang, the sweetness in her voice was so appealing it was impossible to doubt the sincerity of her lyrics.
BEAT LIVE REVIEW
Version Originale has the same addictive quality of everything touched by her gossamer throat strings; the same understated, apparently effortless senses of melody and craft, with, if possible, an even more affecting emotional directness.
ROLLING STONE 4 stars
A textbook case of how to write about your kids without resorting to something with the faintest whiff of a cliche.
BEAT - COVER STORY
Melodic and substantial.
VOGUE - BEST OF THE MONTH
If there's any justice, this album will scoop the pool. It's a class act all round with Miller's plaintive vocals weaving sensuous delight on a collection of fine original tunes.... this is prickles-up-the-spine territory.
With Version Originale Miller's magical ability to elevate a song above its existing parts is no less disarming. It goes beyond the quality of her voice, which sounds more pleasant than really remarkable - until you realise your pulse is slowing and there is a Šthread of dribble hanging off your lip. Like all the greatest singers, it is less about pitch and timbre than her ability to make you believe she's breathing and bleeding in there...
THE AGE EG FEATURE ALBUM 4.5 stars
If you are looking for a distinctive songstress who pens tunes which will stay with you for a lifetime of rainy Sunday afternoons, then here is your woman. Miller has been a critics' darling for many years and it remains a recurring frustration that the commercial airwaves haven't embraced such a superlative talent.
Version Originale reveals the singer in strong, enticing form. her melodic voice is lulling, but never dull.
A sublime tapestry of harp, bass, drums and guitars. From there Miller, whose voice is part-sugar, part-grit, serves up a heartfelt, understated folk, rock, pop, jazz and country collection. HHHH (4 stars)
Version Originale shows Miller off at her most charming and lyrically astute. From cutting breakup songs to sad-eyed laments and boldly stated stands of strength, this album has it all, and again marks Lisa Miller as a truly supreme talent.
Version Originale, all songs by Lisa Miller, a hell of a stocking filler this Christmas and a genius pop record. Umpteen stars.
BEAT - ALBUM OF THE WEEK
Sometimes you can listen to an album and just tell that everything has fallen together in the right way; right time; right place; right people. Her vocal style is pure and ingenuous - a rare treat in this era of modern day histrionics.
Miller really shines on the ballads and you know she can reach some great emotional depths. Definitely a worthy companion to Car Tape.
A beautiful local release from Lisa Miller that effortlessly flits between jazzy originals and introspective pop, and showcases both a distinct voice and a solid compositional touch. Miller is a classic songwriter.
THE BRAG - CD OF THE WEEK
Version Originale, although all from Lisa's own pen, sounds every bit the twin to Car Tape. Buy several copies now - present them to friends and loved ones - and help Version Originale onto this year's Top Ten lists.
Firstly, Lisa Miller's new album is without doubt the best female record of the year! Secondly, a declaration like that isn't made lightly. So what makes Version Originale stand out? Easy. It's her beautifully crafted alt-pop songs that are so heartfelt, honest and raw, it's a credit to her for allowing us to get this close. This album comes highly recommended.
THE BUZZ 4.5 stars
In a word: sophisticated.
These songs tell of love and breakups, of trying to help others in despair and the joy of life. Miller makes it seem that a song is the best way to explain it. Version Originale is another important and confident step for Lisa Miller and establishes her as one of Australia's best singers and a fine songwriter. You do need this album
She's good Lisa Miller. Very, very good.
SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
Version Originale is a fitting title for a one-of-a-kind performer and songwriter of immeasurable talent. Let's lift Lisa to the status she deserves: star.
Reviews for Car Tape
"The passion, bravery and mastery with which she inhabited each song were transporting -- at times, it was as though you could feel her breath against your skin."
The Age, Live Review
"Like a thunderbolt out of the sky, bright, bold, beautiful, and awe-inspiring."
Beat Magazine, Album Of The Week
"Not a weak track on it"
"A collection of tracks ideal for road reflection...but this CD is so good just listening at home is a great experience"
"It's triumph is in making compositions from neglected or forgotten figures sound like standards."
"So much hidden talent, it could almost make you cry."
Sydney Morning Herald
"...a wonderful album, stacked with obscure songs and seductive melodies."
"Lisa Miller has got a new album. It's a concept album at the same time as it's a covers album, and it's very, very good."
"Somewhere warm. That's just where Car Tape will take you."
"A collection of beautifully reworked rare tunes that whisper around the edges of your conscience"
"Car Tape is for the long drive. It will outlast a summer holiday up the coast and still be in the dashboard next Easter."
"Car Tape is just one of those ideas that's so simple it works a treat."
"This will be a critical rave and could be a commercial success given half a chance."
Country Music Capital News
"This stunningly beautiful CD is the kind of dream record everybody wishes they had pumping out of their car stereo on a long road trip."
The West Australian
"The emphasis is on the essentials of mood and melody: Car Tape is arranged with a sparsity that aches."
"Pure midnight cabaret, conjuring up a musical mood that sticks to the lonely side of blue."
"Raoul Records have really put out something here that has extra special quality."
"Beautifull bending these less than familiar tunes to her evocative style, tinged with sadness but still emotionally warm."
"Car Tape is already in my car CD rack." 4 stars
The Age Green Guide
"An absolutely beautiful female vocal with just the right amount of twang, gorgeous lilting guitars that rub the back of your neck so lightly they feel like the breeze, and outstanding renditions of songs.... Sublime."
"No affectations, just pure and and clear and dedicated to presenting the song in the best way possible."
"So potent are her vesions, you'll be inspired to take a road trip."
"When night falls on a road trip and your back-seat drivers are lolling and dreaming, this is the music you need."
"Lisa's voice becomes better with each album and is absolutely sublime here."
"Thirteen stunning interpretations, all with minimal instrumentation, subtly pushing Miller's wonderful voice to the fore."
"Songs sung with love, played with respect, and produced with originality. This album is set to become one of your future favourites."
"What a fascinating covers album. Nothing here is obvious."
"Miller's fetching country lilt and keening voice, and the considered and sympathetic accompaniment around her, renders each song with an almost reverential care. This is a lovely album for anyone who cares about quality." 8 stars
"One of the treasures of Melbourne's urban country underground, Lisa Miller has drawn another round of swooning reviews for her third album, Car Tape. Miller's pure fragile vocal quality reprises the vulnerable/invincible ladies of country from Patsy Cline to Emmylou Harris, without sounding like any of them."
Sydney City Search
"Critical acclaim for Car Tape is gaining momentum, as is Miller's reputation for sublime, miss-at-your-peril live performances."
"Thirteen beautifully rendered heartfelt songs, many of them rather obscure, and mainly laidback and sombre. The emotional performances and the song choices are what makes this album work. A lot of the songs deal with love and devotion to it. Miller's voice aches and yearns.... this is a great album, a late night album, thoughtful and reflective, not speeding down the highway. Maybe driving alone at night after a confused fight with a lover, or meeting someone new."
Lisa Miller imbued all her songs with a new emotional richness
August 9, 2004
Gaelic Club, Sydney, August 6 2004
It helps to have an audience fired up and giving back energy, drive, love even, when you're on stage. That exchange can create a bubble, a separate space that is not so much cut off from the rest of the world as not needing it. At least not for two hours. We have seen it in recent years with Mercury Rev.
Some artists never build that bridge and consequently operate remotely: they are to be admired but not to be touched or to touch. That's not necessarily bad; it just isn't transformative as the best gigs can be. The Who's shows last month are an example.
Sometimes the audience is not quite there: liking it but not able to make that leap into connecting or throwing back their share. It can leave artists floating untethered, drifting further away throughout the night despite all their efforts.
Unless, that is, there is some internal dynamic, some inward-looking compulsion/propulsion for the performance that operates irrespective of the external.
Great pain, happiness or anything from the "outside" world that can't be controlled in the normal course of events in this context can be directed and used to stoke the inner fire.
That's what seemed to be happening with Lisa Miller on this night. Against the warm but restrained response of the audience she burned intensely. There was no obvious change in appearance. She joked self-deprecatingly as usual; she teased guitarist Shane O'Mara as usual. But when she sang, everything took on a stronger hue. It was as if she was feeling all of the songs, all of the lyrics, with greater force or a new eye. The result was a voice slightly thicker and a tone even richer.
The usually charming I Love You a Thousand Dollars had a surprising grip at its core, a little tense hold on your attention, while No Place To Fall and Eleven were so strong in their vulnerability and brave in their openness. Likewise, a rare treat of Safe As Houses, done with only O'Mara accompanying, was like a late-night fire of glowing embers that warm rather than scorch.
Although even the lighter material, such as the joyful New Record (which finished the night on a loose but girlishly buoyant note) felt the effects of Miller's intensity, the greatest difference was in numbers such as the torch song Hold On, which saw her singing with a slowly expanding power that, when O'Mara's guitar ran free, was there to match him and the band quite thrillingly.
Subtly but perceptibly, Miller's approach pushed her band further, particularly Garrett Costigan, who delivered one fiery pedal steel solo, and O'Mara, who was unusually condensed but even more potent.
Maybe a hint of what lay behind this night's intensity came in the dedication of one song to Miller's mother "up in the sky". But whatever the reason, the result was a show that defied the circumstances and, in its own way, defined the performer.
Beautiful, melodic triumph for Melbourne's quiet achiever
The Age, May 29 2002
Corner Hotel, Richmond, May 24 2002
The return of Lisa Miller was to mark her superb, new CD Car Tape. It was a revelation at once startling and familiar.
Familiar, because Miller, a singer-songwriter acclaimed for her rootsy, melodic pop-rock, is so beloved by her fans - not just for her achingly beautiful voice, but for the resonant sincerity of her songwriting.
And startling, because she subverts the received wisdom of the outward-looking music industry by quietly reminding us that sometimes the greatest victories take place in your hometown.
Miller's performance on Friday night was nothing short of victorious, proving that it is, indeed, the quiet ones whom you have to watch.
It is nearly three years since Miller released her acclaimed album, As Far as a Life Goes, on the back of her impressive solo debut, Quiet Girl With a Credit Card. And it's been a while since she has headlined a dinner-and-show performance.
Yet Miller commanded her role in the spotlight with such presence that it was impossible to tear your eyes from the stage.
From the moment she opened her mouth to sing, it was a vocal performance of intense intimacy and visceral power.
And the accomplished musicianship and arrangements that she brought to the stage were world-class, resulting in a breathtakingly high-quality and beautifully orchestrated, yet utterly natural and joyous, live music experience.
The care and imagination that had gone into the performance was evident from the opening bracket of three much-loved songs from As Far as a Life Goes.
The poignant Big Star was followed by a sassy rendition of Rule Number One (Never Trust a Man) in girl-group style, the twist being that the girl singers were boys - Douglas Robertson (Icecream Hands) and Royce Doherty (Kiva), who provided truly gorgeous back-up vocals, with enough "bop-bops" and "ahhs" and "oohs" to melt the heart of any harmony lover, spooning ladles of sweetness all over Miller's melodies.
After a stirring version of Safe As Houses, the original material made way for Miller and her band to showcase the impeccable selection of obscure songs from Car Tape.
From the opening number, Evil, to her finale, the whimsical, sentimental Charlie Rich love song, We Love Each Other, Miller made other people's songs her own.
The passion, bravery and mastery with which she inhabited each song were transporting - at times, it was as though you could feel her breath against your skin.
And going by audience reactions - held breath, stunned silence, rapturous applause, goofy smiles - there was nowhere that anyone would rather be than with Miller and her Car Tape soundtrack at the Corner on a Friday night in Melbourne.
It was a sweet, transcendent victory for Miller and her fans, and an intensely memorable performance.
So Much hidden talent, it could make you cry
Sydney Morning Herald, July 5 2002
The Metro, Sydney, June 4 2002
There's a lot wrong with the fact that Lisa Miller effectively is a hidden treasure. And we could spend the next few minutes bemoaning the prevalence of ordinary talents who get the attention owed to her; not to mention a bit of self-flagellation for those of us in the Sydney media who haven't done enough to make her famous. But instead let's look at why you need to do more to hear and see her next time she's in your neighbourhood.
She's a fine songwriter in her own right, albeit too sparingly recorded (if you find my copy of her first album, Quiet Girl with a Credit Card, please return it) but she also is a gifted interpreter. There's still something no-one else has touched in her version of Woman Left Lonely on that debut, for example, and on her current album of covers, Car Tape, there's that same feeling in her guitar-driven slow burn on the soul standard Have a Little Mercy.
With some of the waifish tone of Victoria Williams and the tremble of the young Dolly Parton, her voice is not quite soul, can dip into country and has the plaintiveness of folk blues. But its most compelling element is the way it can make you cry without any noticeable tugging on obvious strings.
And this was even more evident live. In her hands Townes Van Zandt's No Place to Fall and Gene Clark and Doug Dillard's Why Not Your Baby? became songs for dawn and dusk, for neither bright nor gloom. She brought out the sadness but eschewed the temptation for tragedy and the result was even more affecting.
That careful balance was there too in Lyle Lovett's Nobody Knows Me (heartbreaking, with just a glimmer of hope) but that wasn't her only card.
Watch Miller use her subtle but unmistakable sexiness to throw a bit of cocked hip into The Boy that Radiates that Charm and a cheeky smile into Give Back the Key to My Heart and you see the experience that pop ingenues need another lifetime to reach.
She's charming and warm, can sing like a dream and need be only a few feet away from you at any time. There's really no need to keep her hidden any longer, is there?
Beat Live Reviews
Beat, Wed Oct 23 2002
Cornish Arms, Brunswick, Oct 12 2002
The silky chanteuse from St Kilda played at the Cornish Arms on October 12 and I'm telling you there was only one place that you would have rather wanted to be and that was inside her microphone because Lisa sings other peoples songs and she does so with aplomb; to hear her take on Bill Withers or Gene Clark is the bomb, kid, and her latest collection is all the proog you need.
Her latest album, Car Tape, is the best, most aromatic bath music this century. It elevates the classic mix-tape concept to a fine art. This gentle miracle of pop interpretation received a well-deserved ARIA nomination (3, actually: Ed). Car Tape contains thirteen country-grazing, pop diamonds that simmer with a kind of sultry 70s soul. It's an album perfect for a twilight twist on the side of some country road with only you, the missus, an eyeful of shining stars and an earful of Lisa singing her stunning, torch-lit ballads. I am hereby convinced that Car Tape is not only the most universally loved album of the year, but also the best Christmas present ever created for cool, older sisters. To be unmoved by this albums fatal charms is strange, perhaps even as perverse as not liking barbeques.
On Saturday, Brunswick had the hot ticket, and Lisa Miller had the mic at her mercy. She started with a few smoky verses, then grinned to the crowd. Behind her stood five, able-bodied gentlemen, who could have easily been mistaken for for Lisa's brothers. They were mostly tall and bespectacled, three wielded expensive guitars, one fiddled with a keyboard and the drummer did what drummers do best and he did this very well. Lisa strummed her guitar lightly before grinning back at the boys. They looked ready to burn. They played like they were running out of chances. The raucous show was a pleasant contrast to Car Tape's slinky, satin-soft, sad songs. At one point, the quiet girl with a credit card sang about the boy that radiates that charm and somewhere Steven Patrick Morrissey sighed. Towards the close of her dazzling performance, Lisa sang Charlie Rich's We Love Each Other, and I'm telling you, there was only one place that you would have rather wanted to be and that was inside her microphone.
Reviews for As Far As Life Goes
"Lisa Miller has the kind of voice that sends men into the forest for bonding camps to kill animals, drink beer, and attempt to reclaim their masculinity...."
"If Lisa Miller's only assett was a voice that recalls the more erotic apllications of honey, she'd be a treasure in Melbourne's neo-country vault. Oh yeah, she's also one of our most insightful new songwriters, balancing devastating vulnerability with the kind of no-shit savvy that can make you laugh - out loud and nervously. Lisa Miller is the definitive quiet one you have to watch." 4 stars.
"She shifts from pop to rock and back to country without a hitch - and with depth of feeling dripping from every note."
Sunday Herald Sun
"There's not a bad track on the album. And vocally, she's a revelation. One minute sweet and vulnerable, the next feisty and direct."
Following her superb debut, Miller continues to redefine country-pop."
"Lisa Miller's first album was a promise, her second is the confirmation: this countrified Melbourne singer-songwriter is already a national treasure of the Tim Rogers/Paul Kelly calibre.... her economy of expression and pure emotional insights are hitched to the sly wit and subtle melodic sense of a veteran."
"Miller stakes her claim as one of the country's best, and most under-appreciated songwriters. If Kasey Chambers recent album The Captain has had punters finally relieved they've found an Australian country album they can listen to without wincing, then Lisa Miller's latest CD should have them in raptures. As Far As A Life Goes is a true tour de force of clever, emotionally powerful songwriting and faultless musicianship."
Addicted To Noise
"Her songs bristle with tales of experience and compassion. Full of wisdom, wit and a wry sense of humour, she disarms bitterness and revenge with delightful ease."
"Even if posessing a voice warm and rich enough to melt butter was where Lisa Miller's talent started and stopped she'd be worth a listen. But the fact that Miller's proficiency extends to first rate, affecting songwriting (with a perfect balance between earnestness and wry humour) makes her one of this country's finest singer/songwriters."
"...conveys a casual, but arrogant and assured toughness which many other musicians can only achieve with bluster and swearing."
"Melbourne's Lisa Miller deserves greatness. She's one hell of a vocalist, a clever songwriter and a woman of impeccable musical taste."
"...the full scale of Lisa Miller's songwriting becomes apparent. Add to that a voice that can swith from a tough Chrissie Hynde sneer to a tender Lucinda Williams whisper, and you've got a quite brilliant album."
"Driven by a clean, sweet tone and strident voice, this album drips quality." 8/10
"Lisa Miller's first album 'Quiet Girl With A Credit Card' received such rave reviews that this second album has been eagerly anticipated. It does not disappoint - eleven new songs bursting with experience, wisdom and a wry sense of humour."
"The thing that strikes you immediately when you hear Miller's voice is the emotion she puts into her songs. That, in turn, transforms her music into very powerful experiences."
"An album without a weak link and at least five singles to pick from. This is the performance of an artist totally in control of her medium. The sound is exactly right for the song, her voice carrying that cutesy/dumb resignation of pop, charged with a lyric of deadly intent."
"There's nothing more rewarding than discovering an artist that knocks you off your feet. For this writer, Lisa Miller is one such artist."
"Miller doesn't let songs come off the cuff, floating on subconcious images/desires/images, she clearly spells out just what she's saying, who she's saying it to, and what it all means."
Beat Magazine (Album Of The Week)
"...the release of her impressive debut put her name into people's lists of great Australian songwriters. Miller's new album is more evidence of her ability to document the heart's big issues in the space of a pop song."
"Miller's 1996 debut announced the arrival of a major talent. As Far As A Life Goes is a compelling, if unsettling, follow-up. From the knowing irony in the opening track, to the limits alluded to in the title track, Miller uncompromisingly examines romantic illusions." 4 Stars.
"Miller's stunning new album, As far As A Life Goes, is full of sad songs that make you feel good."
The Age EG
Press for Quiet Girl With A Credit Card
Dawson, Dave, 1996, 'Lisa Miller - Lisa's limo hits the open road", Impress Magazine Lisa Miller has good reason to remember her magical mystery tour of the heart of Dixie - a Yank tank with Texas plates. "It was a huge Ford LTD I bought from a Mexican woman in San Antonio," says Lisa of the gas guzzler which inspired the intro track on her debut album Quiet Girl with a Credit Card. Ms Miller, now 34 and a recent mother, bought her Big American Car on a fact finding tour of the home of roots music in 1989... "It cost $700 but we found later it had been in a couple of accidents because it kept chewing up tires on the right side," she revealed on the eve of the album's launch at The Continental Cafe on Saturday... "It was all out of whack, the steering knuckle was worn away. It used to go from side to side like a huge boat. It chewed up about a dozen tyres. But nobody messed with us because it was a huge tank with Texas plates." Lisa's limo ferried her to Lone Star state capital Austin - long the hot bed of kicker country - and then east to New Orleans and back to Nashville, Memphis and north to Virginia. The trip, with country radio as a sporadic soundtrack, was the fertile fuel which prompted her to quit teaching when she arrived home, manage stores selling Americana gear and sing for her supper in Suburban bars. But unlike the lyric of the song the car didn't have a radar detector. "That came later back here in a Japanese car but it didn't work," says the Chadstone reared singer who previously released three CD EPs - one with her former band Truckasaurus and two solo discs. Ms Miller works the road metaphor into two other tunes - Guitar Boat and Lond Wide Load - from her album on Steve Miller's W.Minc label, marketed by Shock Records. Although Guitar Boat shares a hedonistic, escapist theme with Big American Car it was inspired by a friend's painting from her first EP. And if you strain your ears, you'll pickup a lyric that could have been peeled from Mary Chapin Carpenter's song book - "I want to do a duet with Lyle from the twenty second aisle." That's Lovett, of course, "not murderous Lyle Mendez" - the singer quips after attending to maternal duties. Nobody's an Angel, the only tune to earn lyrics on the CD sleeve, is a much sombre affair. "It's about a few people I know," says Lisa, 34 and a mother of a baby boy, "narrow mindedness and people's perception of you and having to live up to expectations. It's a pastiche about a whole lot of different people." But different not about observers, trapped in time warps who refer to the genre by its fifties misnomer - "country and western". That tired terminology, used by city folks reared on hits and memories radio, is a far cry from Ms Miller's eclectic mix of country, funk, folk and pop. Each time that description looms the victims check the cryonics crypt at their local lab to see if there's any escape(e?)s. Quiet Girl with a Credit Card, taken from a line in the Dave Graney tune I'm Gonna Live my Life, is likely to penetrate the memories mausoleom monopolies - it's more likely to find a home on the ABC, roots community radio shows and Nu Country (94.3 FM). There has been a suggestion that singing country engenders the problem of being taken seriously. Don't tell that to country singer-songwriters who earn more royalties a week and accolades from critics and fans alike than flavour-of-the-month faddists in an entire career. Steve Earle built a rural mansion in Fairview, Tennessee, solely from the airplay royalties of his second album Exit-O - that was one of his more modest sales successes. Ms Miller believes the biggest problem of being country in the unlucky radio country is paucity of bookings from myopic, mobile phone toting rock promoters. Luckily, she doesn't have that problem - she has been sharing bills with Graney and about to journey north of the Murray-Dixon line with bluesy rock act Tex Perkins. The long gestation period for this album has been a blessing - songs that began life in one guise have, by osmosis, developed new cloaks... "Long Wide Load began as a trucking song but now has a bluegrass flavour and False Waltz, which was a waltz, now has a swampy feel," says Lisa. The lyrical vitriol of False Waltz is softened by the Tony Joe White style groove in which it nestles. Long Wide Load, spawned by a banner procured by producer Graham Lee (perhaps to illustrate a belated Geelong premiership float), is not as jolly as it seems. "It wasn't meant to be a happy song but it was sung with a happy beat behind it," says Lisa. Oh, if you're wondering why Ms Miller's vocals waft in the wake of a Procul Haremesque organ sound from Bruce Haymes you can worry no more. "I think that was the Procul Harem organ if I'm not mistaken", the singer laughed. "Bruce found it at the Fortissimo Studio where we recorded." Alhough there's shades of Cowboy Junkies singer Margo Timmins and Rosie Flores in Ms Miller's vocal stylings she says it's not deliberate. "Since leaving Truckasaurus I've tried to sound, at long last, like myself," Lisa revealed. "I spent so many years singing other people's songs and trying to sound like them. I don't know why you do that. I have really tried to find my own voice here."
Glass, Keith, 1996, 'Lisa Miller - Quiet Girl with a Credit Card', On the Street Magazine There are subtle pleasures here that take a while to sink in. Miller's vocals, skills and song choices are deceptively low key. There's a depth we are not used to in local indie alternative country (whatever that is). Producer 'Evil' Graham Lee has assembled some good Melbourne-based players to create just the right mixture of gloss and grit on fine originals by Miller, plus contributions from Dave Graney, Conway Savage, Bob Dylan, Spooner Oldham and Dan Penn. The latter's 'A Woman left Lonely', one of the great country/soul songs, does not overshadow the quality evident throughout. Graney's 'I'm Gonna Live my Life' turns out to be a perfect strong woman's song and Lisa's inner vocal strength just the vehicle to deliver it. Her own 'Big American Car' puts the album in drive while 'Big Small Town' (could be hometown Melbourne) may attack just the frustration and small mindedness that will hinder this album from reaching the wider audience it deserves. The project oozes quality from the full colour slip cover on down, something the small W.Minc label excels at. There is more musical satisfaction here than on a dozen Tamworth wannabes or, dare I say it?, cooler inner city alternative rockers.
Mihelakos, Mary, 1996, 'Lisa Miller', Beat Magazine. Lisa Miller is a shining star. Her debut album Quiet Girl with a Credit Card is quickly finding a place in people's hearts. It is a delicious platter of eleven selected tunes each flavoured with raw emotion and charm. It is Sunday afternoon and Lisa Miller, has just awoken up from her nap. Since the birth of her son Charlie Michelangelo eighteen weeks ago her life has changed. "It is really good having him around," she explains. "It means the time that you do have you use pretty wisely and I don't get nervous a lot now because I have so much to do. I don't worry as much." Lisa herself may also calm about everything, but her record label W.Minc are determined that Quiet Girl with a Credit Card, attracts the attention it warrants. An independent publicist has been hired, all the media have been serviced across the board from Triple J to 3LO. The packaging of the CD also indicates that its special. It is richly coloured red, purple and royal blue and there is a casebox around the CD. The stylish W.Minc is the boutique label of quiet achiever Steve Miller who has a history in the music scene and is a part owner of the unique Standard Hotel. Esteemed rock writer Clinton Walker has written the liner notes. Lisa Miller might seem like a new name on the scene, but she has done a lot of ground work. Her smooth vocals are familiar, formerly of Truckasaurus. She also has two independently released solo EPs to her credit. Lisa Miller and band have also landed some high profile supports like the Tex Perkins solo tour next month. But this a new chapter in her career. The country tag is too confining for Lisa Miller. Quiet Girl with a Credit Card, is a rootsy pop record, with a mild country feel." "I get the country tag before people listen to the full record. Not that I am trying to sort of jump off that bandwagon and say hey I am not country, because I am sure there is a certain element of me that is, especially if you listen to Top 40 you can see how rootsy the record is. It is hard to try and convince some people there is more than that on the record unless they have heard it because people have a knee-jerk reaction to country music, a lot of people don't know. They find country that they like and of course there is a lot of great country and I will always like the good stuff and always hate the bad stuff," says Lisa directing the last comment towards some of the commercial Nashville releases..."I really like the crossover bands with a rock mentality. Those rock bands like Wilco and The Jayhawks that really like country music and incorporate that into their playing. It is not banal or real commerical and irky." Quiet Girl with a Credit Card is produced by respected musician and former Triffid Evil Graham Lee. "It definitely has a particular sound that he is responsible for. He likes having a lot of the acoustic instruments in there and little snatches of melody, little ornamentations. He likes to use a lot of keyboards, there is piano on a lot of the tracks. In hindsight I am really glad they are there, I may not have thought that at the time. I was really keen to use hammond organ, but maybe less so to have piano but now I really like the songs that have piano in them." Lisa Miller wrote seven out of the eleven songs on the album. The ones she wrote herself are superb with a cohesive feel... "I knew that I was making the album about two years ago. I intentionally wrote a few of the songs for the album and there are a couple of songs I had lying around that I totally twisted around and made into different songs. We are not using old material, if there is anything the same as on the EP, it has been re-recorded." The carefully selected covers have been revived with beautiful treatment. These include Bob Dylan's You're a Big Girl Now, Woman Left Lonely by Dan Penn and Spooner Oldham recorded by Janis Joplin, and Conway Savage's Too Dark to See as well as a borrowed new tune from Dave Graney... "He (Dave Graney) gave me a tape with some songs on it that he hadn't recorded and they were ideas. I think Steve had approaced him and said have you got any songs for Lisa? And he just gave me a demo, I did not actually ask him if he had written it for me. I think he probably had them already but he had not used them. I picked that one that we used on the record because it seemed to really fit any situation and I just really liked it. We were able to give it that cocktail treatment in the studio. It is from a lyric in this Dave Graney track, I'm Gonna Live my Life (I'm Gonna Take my Time) that the album takes its title Quiet Girl with a Credit Card.
Reilly, Terry, 1996, 'Lisa Miller - Quiet Girl with a Credit Card', Beat Magazine Lisa Miller's sweet voice has a steely-edged determined and authority. So subtly, she graces her debut CD with it. Quiet Girl with a Credit Card is that very album you put on your player to let the repeat button do it incessant work. In fact, the more you listen, the more you are converted. When country music mixes tradition with a little edge, the results are invariably stupendous. But Lisa Miller has taste and style. Her shot at Dann Penn's powerful A Woman left Lonely is a case in point. It's very own soul kind of feeling, if you will, gently rises like a determined vehicle climbing a damp, winding mountain road. You can feel a shiver and an eventual imminent relief which is heightened by Bruce Haymes' sinuous (pedal steel?) (keyboards?). The edge is tougher and more instrumentally defined on her own False Waltz with its inveigling sinister blues ambience where drummer Ashley Davies and bassist Steve Hadley provide a creeping voodoo rhythm punctuated by Sam Lemann's chipping rhythm guitar. Miller, herself, cuts through this superbly eerie canvas and marks her first album with a ripping uppercut. In an age when country music has become as safe as milk, Lisa Miller and that select band of performers like Iris DeMent and Billy Joe Shaver, who defy this conservatism, do the music a service by stripping away it blandness. And there is nothing bland about Quiet Girl with a Credit Card. It's daring, different and teeming with integrity.
Kate, 1996, 'Lisa Miller - Quiet Girl with a Credit Card', Punter's Club Form Guide, Issue 35, p 29 Lisa Miller has been blessed with a voice that deserves to be heard. It would be surprising if you had not already heard tracks from this album about already. It has received strong airplay and the band recently appeared on Recovery for some live tracks. Some may remember Lisa from her days with Truckasaurus, however on this album there has been a subtle shift in sound. I have only seen Lisa Miller and her band live once. On that instance, I was impressed by the gentle strength of Lisa's voice. Once again on the album Lisa is out to impress. The musical arrangements on the album have achieved a balance which ensures that the vocals are unquestionably the primary feature of the album yet, in doing so do not comprimise the overall sound. Lisa has written seven of the tracks on the album, other compositions featured are written by such notables as Dave Graney and Conway Savage. One stand out track is a cover of Bob Dylan's 'You're a Big Girl Now'. Lisa's subtle delivery coupled by varied and engaging musical support make this album a pleasure to listen to. There is a strong country influence throughout the album which offers much to the tempered harmonies. I have listened to this album a dozen times and am yet to tire of the soothing sounds. One special feature of the release is the inclusion of liner notes. Not your basic thank you's, but a return to the true art form not seen since the days of Buffalo Springfield. With any luck this wonderful institution will see a revival on the strength of this example written by Clinton Walker.